Access to Justice

  • October 06, 2019

    Why San Francisco's Bail Solution Is No Done Deal

    Seven months after a federal judge ruled that San Francisco's bail system is unconstitutional, nothing has changed. A tentative agreement that could see most detainees released within 18 hours instead of being held until arraignment won't kick in until local legislators sign off on it — and the corresponding increase in costs.

  • October 06, 2019

    Could Virtual Aid Improve Court Access For The Lawyerless?

    A virtual help center and other measures could help civil litigants without attorneys navigate the complexities of court, according to an advocacy group pressing for reforms in Massachusetts, which said failing to act will mean a two-tiered legal system divided between the haves and have-nots.

  • October 06, 2019

    Atty ‘Tiger Team’ Helps Win Bankruptcy Fix For Disabled Vets

    Concerned over the financial pressure faced by soldiers who have returned to civilian life, a team of lawyers recently came together from across the country to help tweak the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and protect an important stream of benefits for millions of veterans.

  • October 06, 2019

    As Biometric Screening Spreads, The Law Isn't Keeping Up

    As biometric data gathering like facial recognition becomes an increasingly common tool in fighting against terrorism, legal protections have lagged behind that technology, according to experts on a recent panel in Manhattan, who said regulators need to strike a better balance between security and protecting human rights.

  • October 04, 2019

    Philly Legal Aid Group Must Face EEOC Disability Bias Suit

    An organization that offers legal services to poor and underage defendants has failed to secure a quick win in a case in Pennsylvania federal court, where it faces allegations that it violated federal law by terminating an attorney found to have mental health problems rather than transfer her to another role.

  • October 04, 2019

    Top Pa. Public Defender Paid Staffers To Campaign, AG Says

    The top public defender in Pennsylvania's capital city was slapped with criminal charges on Wednesday for allegedly agreeing to provide tens of thousands of dollars in compensation to county employees who agreed to work the polls on behalf of a judicial candidate he was supporting.

  • September 29, 2019

    Could A Dog Bite Bring An End To Qualified Immunity?

    Thanks to a legal doctrine called qualified immunity, police officers cannot be held liable for violating constitutional rights unless a previous court decision says otherwise. Its defenders say the doctrine allows officers to do their jobs, but a bipartisan high court bid over a police dog attack aims to abolish it.

  • September 29, 2019

    Juvenile Law Center's Levick On Seeking Fairness For Kids

    In 1975, Marsha Levick and three other recent law school graduates founded a small legal services organization aimed at representing children in Philadelphia. Four decades later, the Juvenile Law Center has been a part of some of the most significant developments in juvenile justice.

  • September 29, 2019

    UN's Access To Justice Effort Gains Steam Despite Hurdles

    At a United Nations event last week in New York, world leaders gathered to discuss progress toward ensuring access to justice for all by 2030, an official UN goal. For many, raising the awareness and motivation needed to bridge the global justice gap is half the battle.

  • September 29, 2019

    All Work And Low Pay: Wage Gap Persists For Legal Aid Attys

    A new report from the Legal Services Corporation, which provides grants to legal aid organizations, highlighted just how much groups are able to do with sparse resources — and how low the compensation is for attorneys doing vital work.

  • September 29, 2019

    Why Probation And Parole May Need A Reboot

    Due to parole and probation violations, nearly one in four state prisoners are incarcerated for conduct that wouldn’t normally lead to lockup. But at a criminal justice conference in Manhattan last week, experts said the time is now to transform community supervision into the rehabilitative tool it was intended to be.

  • September 29, 2019

    How Corporate America Can Help Close The Justice Gap

    When the Trump administration threatened to eliminate the Legal Services Corp. this year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise helped marshal corporate general counsel to fight back. It’s one timely example, according to business leaders at a recent Manhattan event, of the power that companies have to enact social change.

  • September 27, 2019

    Pa. Justices Snub Death Penalty Constitutional Challenge

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday declined to exercise special jurisdiction to address a constitutional challenge to the state’s death penalty, but left the door open for questions about the cruelty of capital punishment to be brought in individual cases.

  • September 26, 2019

    Fed. Judges Say They Need Autonomy On Sealing Orders

    Two federal court leaders testified Thursday on Capitol Hill, defending courts' authority to keep case documents out of the public's view and set restrictive policies on courtroom recordings.

  • September 22, 2019

    Vets' Win In Landmark Suit Could Force VA To Spend Billions

    For the second time in three years, a court has told the federal government to stop denying emergency medical care reimbursements solely because a veteran had private insurance pay part of the cost. Thanks to rare class action status, up to $6.5 billion could be paid out to over half a million veterans — if the VA complies.

  • September 22, 2019

    Clifford Chance Helps Fight Anti-LGBT Stunt In Poland

    When Clifford Chance learned that a Polish newspaper was preparing to distribute anti-gay stickers declaring “LGBT-free zone,” attorneys with the firm swung into action and helped put a dent in those plans.

  • September 22, 2019

    Failures Of Justice In Central Park 5 Case Resonate In Philly

    After spending more than a dozen years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Hassan Bennett didn’t need to watch Netflix’s recent miniseries on the Central Park Five case to understand the challenges black and brown communities face when forced to go toe-to-toe with the criminal justice system.

  • September 22, 2019

    Legal Aid Groups Shouldn't Wait For A Disaster To Act

    Legal aid groups should already be forging relationships with disaster-relief agencies and community groups, as well as educating the public and training volunteers to recognize legal problems, so that when a disaster strikes, they will be poised to start helping right away, according to a new report.

  • September 20, 2019

    Family Separation At Border Is 'Child Abuse,' ACLU Tells Court

    The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday urged a California federal judge to rule that U.S. immigration officials are illegally separating parents from their children based on criminal histories instead of separating families only when a parent is deemed unfit or a danger to their child, saying its present policy is tantamount to "child abuse."

  • September 15, 2019

    Reservation Residents Face Long Road To Justice

    Many cases from Native American reservations end up in federal court, which means indigenous victims, defendants and witnesses travel for hours to testify before jurors who have nothing to do with the community where a crime took place.

  • September 15, 2019

    The Court Cases Shaping The Future Of Tribal Jurisdiction

    Congress and the courts have not only chipped away at the judicial sovereignty rights of tribal governments, they've created a dizzying jurisdictional tangle. Cases now working their way up the courts could make it worse.

  • September 15, 2019

    NARF’s Echohawk On Protecting Tribal Rights

    Almost half a century after helping to found the Native American Rights Fund in 1971 as a young lawyer, John E. Echohawk is still working to advance the rights of Native Americans and Native tribes.

  • September 15, 2019

    Can Deputization Pacts Ease Tribes’ Jurisdiction Woes?

    Tribal communities looking to provide public safety despite a tangled jurisdictional framework have sometimes relied on cross-deputization agreements with county sheriffs, which experts say can be a big help. But they don’t work everywhere.

  • September 08, 2019

    Challenge To NYPD’s Use Of Sealed Records Gets Go-Ahead

    A New York judge has certified a class of individuals who contend the New York City Police Department has unlawfully used information contained in their sealed arrest records when investigating other cases.

  • September 08, 2019

    5th Circ. Gives Fresh Momentum To Fine And Fee Reformers

    Recent decisions by the Fifth Circuit that aspects of the funding system for New Orleans criminal courts are unconstitutional represent major victories in the push to curb the use of fines and fees in the criminal justice system — and highlight how far court challenges to alleged abuses have come, advocates say.

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